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Bill of materials

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An example of a BOM for a mechanical assembly (in German)

A bill of materials or product structure (sometimes bill of material, BOM or associated list) is a list of the raw materials, sub-assemblies, intermediate assemblies, sub-components, parts and the quantities of each needed to manufacture an end product. A BOM may be used for communication between manufacturing partners, or confined to a single manufacturing plant. A bill of materials is often tied to a production order whose issuance may generate reservations for components in the bill of materials that are in stock and requisitions for components that are not in stock.

A BOM can define products as they are designed (engineering bill of materials), as they are ordered (sales bill of materials), as they are built (manufacturing bill of materials), or as they are maintained (service bill of materials). The different types of BOMs depend on the business need and use for which they are intended. In process industries, the BOM is also known as the formula, recipe, or ingredients list. The phrase "bill of material" (or BOM) is frequently used by engineers as an adjective to refer not to the literal bill, but to the current production configuration of a product, to distinguish it from modified or improved versions under study or in test.

Sometimes the term "pseudo-bill of materials" or "pseudo-BOM" is used to refer to a more flexible or simplified version, like with a place-holder part number being be used to represent a group of related (usually standard) parts that go together.[1]

In electronics, the BOM represents the list of components used on the printed wiring board or printed circuit board. Once the design of the circuit is completed, the BOM list is passed on to the PCB layout engineer as well as component engineer who will procure the components required for the design.


Modular BOMEdit

BOMs are of hierarchical nature, with the top level representing the finished product which may be a sub-assembly or a completed item. BOMs that describe the sub-assemblies are referred to as modular BOMs. An example of this is the NAAMS BOM that is used in the automotive industry to list all the components in an assembly line. The structure of the NAAMS BOM is System, Line, Tool, Unit and Detail.

The first hierarchical databases were developed for automating bills of materials for manufacturing organizations in the early 1960s. At present, this BOM is used as a data base to identify the many parts and their codes in automobile manufacturing companies.

A bill of materials "implosion" links component pieces to a major assembly, while a bill of materials "explosion" breaks apart each assembly or sub-assembly into its component parts.

A modular BOM can be displayed in the following formats:

  • A single-level BOM that displays the assembly or sub-assembly with only one level of children. Thus it displays the components directly needed to make the assembly or sub-assembly.[2]
  • An indented BOM that displays the highest-level item closest to the left margin and the components used in that item indented more to the right.[3]
  • Modular (planning) BOM

A BOM can also be visually represented by a product structure tree, although they are rarely used in the workplace.[3] For example, one of them is Time-Phased Product Structure [4] where this diagram illustrates the time needed to build or acquire the needed components to assemble the final product. For each product, the time phased product structure shows the sequence and duration of each operation.

Configurable BOMEdit

A configurable bill of materials (CBOM) is a form of BOM used by industries that have multiple options and highly configurable products (e.g. telecom systems, data-center hardware (SANS, servers, etc.), PCs, autos).[5]

The CBOM is used to dynamically create "end-items" that a company sells. The benefit of using CBOM structure is that it reduces the work-effort needed to maintain product structures. The configurable BOM is most frequently driven by "configurator" software, however it can be enabled manually (manual maintenance is infrequent because it is unwieldy to manage the number of permutations and combinations of possible configurations). The development of the CBOM is dependent on having a modular BOM structure in place. The modular BOM structure provides the assemblies/sub-systems that can be selected to "configure" an end-item.

While most configurators utilize top-down hierarchical rules syntax to find appropriate modular BOMs, maintenance of very similar BOMs (i.e., only one component is different for various voltages) becomes highly excessive. A newer approach, (Bottom-Up/Rules-Based Structuring) utilizing a proprietary search engine scheme transversing through selectable componentry at high speeds eliminates the Planning Modular BOM duplications[citation needed]. The search engine is also used for all combinatorial feature constraints and GUI representations to support specification selections.

To decide which variant of the parts or components are to be chosen, they are attributed by the product options which are the characteristic features of the product (business). If the options of the product build an ideal boolean algebra,[6] it is possible to describe the connection between parts and product variants with a Boolean expression, which refers to a subset of the set of products.[7]

Multi-level BOMEdit

A multi-level bill of materials (BOM), or referred as an indented BOM, is a bill of materials that lists the components, assemblies, and parts required to make a product. It provides a display of all items that are in parent-children relationships. When an item is a sub-component, unfinished part, etc., all of its components, including finished parts and raw materials, are also exhibited. A multi-level structure can be illustrated by a tree with several levels. In contrast, a single-level structure only consists of one level of children in components, assemblies and material.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Bill of Materials". Inventory Interface. Gerald Drouillard. December 28, 2001. Retrieved June 7, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Reid, R. Dan; Sanders, Nada R. (2002). Operations Management. John Wiley & Sons. pp. 457–458. ISBN 0-471-32011-0. 
  4. ^ Malakooti, Behnam (2013). Operations and Production Systems with Multiple Objectives. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-1-118-58537-5. 
  5. ^ "Super BOM". SAP ERP 6.0. SAP. 2012. Archived from the original on 2012-07-17. Retrieved 2012-07-17. 
  6. ^ W. Herlyn (2012) (in German), PPS im Automobilbau – Produktionsprogrammplanung und -steuerung von Fahrzeugen und Aggregaten, München: Hanser Verlag, ISBN 978-3-446-41370-2 
  7. ^ W. Herlyn (1990) (in German), Zur Problematik der Abbildung variantenreicher Erzeugnisse in der Automobilindustrie, Düsseldorf: VDI Verlag, ISBN 3-18-145216-5